Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry War on Christmas ... er, I mean Happy Holidays from Eric Three Thousand!

Remember, Jesus is the reason for the season. Yeah, and ALL seasons! Seriously, who came up with that lame saying? Christmas isn't enough for Jesus? He needs Thanksgiving, New Year's day, and Hanukkah as well? That's a little selfish.

A better saying would be "Jesus is the reason we call an ancient pagan holiday 'Christmas.'" But, of course, that doesn't rhyme.

Like most people in the western world and much of the rest, I celebrate Christmas. I have a tree and fairy lights and presents. And most Christians are happy that everyone celebrates their religious holiday even if most people aren't really marking it in a religious way.

But then there are assholes like Bill O'Reilly who want it both ways. They want Christmas to be a national holiday and they want everyone to celebrate but, at the same time, they complain that people are forgetting about Jesus.

The other day I was listening to an interview on NPR with the mayor of some town who decided it was appropriate to put a manger scene on top of the town hall even though there were complaints by some non-Christians. His reasoning was this: as long as the manger was part of an overall display including Santa Clause then it was fine. When asked if they ever display symbols for the holidays of other religions, such as a menorah for Hanukkah, he said he has gotten requests for all kinds of ridiculous things such as the "Flying Spaghetti Holiday" and he finds that insulting to Christianity. So let me get this straight; he doesn't find comparing Hanukkah to flying spaghetti to be insulting?

When it was suggested that maybe Christmas decorations that weren't overtly religious would be more appropriate for a government building he reminded us that Jesus was the whole reason for the holiday in the first place.

Well, you can't have it both ways; either it's a civic holiday that everyone can enjoy OR it's a purely religious holiday that shouldn't be promoted by the government.

Anyway, as I said, it's really an ancient pagan winter solstice celebration that was co-opted by the Christians to celebrate the birth of a baby who was probably born in the spring. Whatever.

Sorry about my rant. I want everyone of every religion to celebrate any way they choose. Manger scenes on government building don't even bother me. It just bothers me that some people don't even understand that it could seem like government promotion of a specific religion, which is a problem.

But seriously, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, Happy Whatever!

Hope you all have a great 2008!


Eric Three Thousand

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Project Runway Season Four, Episode 5: Have you called Jenny yet?

This is Project Runway, let's go, hell, yes, I'm the best, you're either in or you're out, I'm in, they're out, I wouldn't be caught dead in his clothes, fashion is my life, who will be the next big fashion designer? that's me, bottom line, I'm the best, I will own the runway, for these fifteen designers this will be the opportunity of a lifetime!

Or, in other words, everyone can suck it.

Christian: "I thought I was going to die"

You keep saying that but you never do.

So, Chris is gone . . . or is he? Ooh, how ominous!

Jack thinks he has a pimple:

Tempest Bledsoe: "Oh, one time I had this pimple on my forehead and I was so embarrassed I didn't want to go to school but my sister Denise showed me this great trick of wearing a cool scarf around your head! I totally rocked the 80s in that look!"

Yeah, you did! Unfortunately that's not going to work in this situation. Jack's upper lip is really swolen from some infection. I noticed last week that his face was looking really freaky but I couldn't tell what the problem was. Well, now it's gotten worse and he may have to do something about it. He starts the challenge but then he has to leave:

Tim: "Designers, I have an announcement. It has been brought to my attention that Jack had all the pages of a pattern book tattooed on his body. This is clearly against the rules so we had to ask him to leave."

Jack: "No, I'm leaving to get medical attention."

Tim: "Oh, that's right. I've just been watching a lot of 'Prison Break' lately and I got confused."

So, what's the challenge? Heidi walks out onto the runway to tell us:

Heidi: "Hello. OK, enough small talk. Here are your models."

Kirstie Alley: "I've lost 700 pounds! Have you called Jenny yet?"

Heidi: "Will someone please get that attention whore off my runway?"

The real models for this challenge walk out onto the runway:

Sweet P: "I can't tell whether they are fairy princesses or transvestites."

Well, there's an idea for your next movie, Disney: transvestite princesses! Something the whole family will enjoy!

OK, we know they can't be fairy princesses because those are just pretend. So obviously the models must be transvestites. And boy, do these transvestites need a makeover. Apparently they have all just lost a lot of weight:

Kirstie Alley: "Jenny made it so easy! I even got to eat chocolate cake!"

Heidi: "Get out of here!"

Sorry; back to the transvestites: I don't care what they are wearing; someone needs to get them to the L'Oreal hair and makeup room STAT! Seriously; it's an emergency!

Oh, alright; we'll talk about the clothes first. You would think from what they are wearing that being overweight means you have to wear really ugly clothes from the 1980s. Look, I've been to Lane Bryant and there are some nice clothes for big girls. There was no excuse for what they considered their favorite outfits.

The challenge is to take these fat clothes and use the material to make something more appropriate for this century and their new sizes.

One of the models is wearing her wedding dress:

Kevin: "Everyone was thinking, 'who is going to get the wedding dress?' Everyone wanted it!"

Steven: "Please God, let me get the wedding dress! America, start praying for me now!"

Steven gets the wedding dress.

Steven: "Jealous much?"

Sweet P is picked last again. That really is starting to get freaky. Fortunately, it didn't make a difference in this challenge since the models were randomly assigned anyway.

The designers get to work in the design room. There's a message from Chris. The note basically tells the other designers that they can suck it. Just kidding.

Tim tells the designers that they need to make something suitable for the everyday life of a transvestite. You know, something they could wear to a Mardi Gras celebration.

Victorya: "These are not like our regular transvestites. These are just normal, average transvestites and it's a whole different set of rules."

Transvestites: "What a bitch."

Steven had a big challenge to transform a white beaded wedding dress into something wearable. But he also had the biggest opportunity to wow the judges. He really could have gotten away with murder in this challenge. almost anything he could have done would have been impressive.

Except for what he ends up doing. He completely blows it. He decides he can't use the dress because the fabric was cheap-ass shit:

Steven: "It was polyester satin with acetate lace. It was so horrible I couldn't bear to touch it. I was afraid I would get a rash."

Model: "Hey, that's my wedding dress you're talking about!"

Seriously, he's totally insulting this woman's wedding dress. That's so rude. Yes, it was a really tacky dress but you don't need to actually say it. Oops.

So he goes to Mood and buys some even worse cheap-ass shitty fabric ... in black! WTF?

Jillian also decides she can't use her original garment and just buys some similar red fabric to use. Why? I don't get it. It was a fun challenge; I don't understand why these two decided not to do it.

So, back in the design room Ricky is wearing some heels and his model's jeans as Capri pants and his belly is hanging out:

Steven: "Dear lord, help me now."

Yeah, I think we could all use some help recovering from that image. Geez, that was not pretty.

Tim comes in to make an announcement. Chris is back as one of the un-aufed, cursed to wander the halls of Parsons for all eternity, sucking design inspiration from the living. This pitiful creature will be forced to keep making outfits until Nina and Michael stab him in the heart with a sharp insult and Heidi finally puts his soul to rest permanently.

This really is a Project Runway first! And Heidi doesn't even make a grand announcement about it. Sure, Angela and Vincent came back for one challenge but they could only stay if they won the challenge and everyone knew that was never going to happen so it wasn't the same as really bringing them back. But Chris gets to come back and make another "just barely not the worst so he can stay" outfit and he's through to the next challenge!

Tim and Heidi: "We brought back Chris to keep the competition at a high level."

No, you brought him back so we would be left with the right number of contestants."

Tim and Heidi: "Whatever."

So Chris takes over Jack's model:

Chris: "Oh, I am so good at making costumes for transvestites! I am going to rock this challenge!"

OK, unfortunately, Chris is a little tired and didn't understand that I was just joking about the transvestites.

Tim tells Chris he can stay up all night since he got a late start. But he warns him about making decisions in the middle of the night:

Tim: "I've made some really bad decisions at 3:00 in the morning."

Designers: "Ooh, we want names!"

Tim: "Oh, you guys are terrible!"

Time for the Saturn commercial:

Chloe: "Whenever I'm in Los Angeles, which is never, I like to drive my Saturn to Echo Park."

Chloe lays in the grass and closes her eyes for a moment. When she opens her eyes her purse is gone, she's covered in graffiti, and she's surrounded by used syringes.

Chloe: "It's so inspiring!"

The models are being sent to hair and makeup. Thank God.

On to the runway! The guest judge is some guy from the GAP, for no particular reason.

For the most part the women look great! The designers did a really good job!

Jillian made a boring red dress that had almost nothing to do with the original garment except for the color. The dress isn't the worst but I think it's kind of ugly and it doesn't seem to fit well. For some reason the judges think it is beautiful. She's in the top three. I don't get it.

Jillian: "I transformed this woman! Her life will never be the same! I have the power of God!"

Sweet P made a cute halter dress out of a hideous olive-green sack. She's safe.

Ricky made a nice top and jeans out of a really ugly top and jeans. Did he change the color of the top? He's safe.

Ricky: "Oh, my God. The woman told me I was great and she hopes I'm successful. I've never been so moved in my entire life. Can I have a Kleenex?"

Chris made a cute top (although I'm not sure it looked that much different from the original top) and a skirt that had a little too much going on. The red trim sent it over the top:

Michael: "It's a little Shirley Maclaine as a transvestite hooker with a heart of gold."

Chris: "I can't tell if that's a compliment."

Christian made a really fierce outfit! That's right: fierce! It fit perfectly, it looked interesting, and you could tell his client loved it. Christian wins immunity in the next challenge. Congratulations, Christian!

Christian: "Yay! I've finally sold out and made something commercial! The next thing you know my clothes will be on sale at Target!"

Victorya made a decent cocktail dress out of a horrible green velvet sack. She's safe.

Elisa made kind of a weird artsy fartsy outfit. It wasn't bad but I can't really see that woman wearing it. It might look OK on a gallery director:

Michael: "My clients are gallery directors and they would never wear that."

Santino: "Yeah, but your clients are old and boring."

Michael: "I should have Nina slap you in the face for that comment."

Elisa: "I made a day trousseau and now my model really has an increased sexuality. With so many men in this room she should really be careful!"

I think she'll be alright. OK, so using the term "trousseau" completely inappropriately and talking about that woman's sexuality was a little weird but it's hardly up to Elisa's high standards of weirdness:

Elisa: "Sorry; I used up all my 'A' material."

It's very disappointing.

Kevin created a really cute yellow top out of an inexcusable yellow blazer. Black and yellow is a horrible combination - it makes you look like a bee - but Kevin made it work. He was a contender for the win:

Michael: "Just be careful with leggings. They can turn on you. I had a friend who was killed by a pair of leggings."

Rami made a cute top and a nice skirt from a pair of pants. It fit really well. He's safe.

Steve created one of the ugliest dresses I've ever seen. It was a shapeless black sack with white trim. It looked much worse than any of the original ugly outfits. It was really inexplicable:

Michael: "I'm speechless."

Nina: "We should be so lucky."

The judges decide it looks like a French maid at a funeral . . . in the rain . . . after being hit with an ugly stick. No transvestite would ever be caught dead wearing this.

There was no choice; Steven is out.

Next week Tim takes the designers to a destination! Ooh, I love destinations!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Project Runway Season Four, Episode 4: Blast from the Past!

America, start praying for Steven . . . now. I don't know why we should do that; I'm just the messenger.

Steven: "You have no idea how hard it is to constantly come up with new ways to say, 'ooh, another scary challenge; whatever shall we do?'"

I understand.

Before we start the program there is an advertisement for a new Project Runway product:

Heidi: "Do you ever find yourself wishing you smelled like one of the designers after running around Mood and lower Manhattan on a hot summer day and then working in a stuffy, crowded design room for 16 straight hours? Do you ever think, 'I wish I could get that feeling of having Nina Garcia tell me I'm a disappointment or Micheal Kors tell me I look like Bea Arthur'? Maybe you've just wanted to have me say 'auf wiedersehen' when you're so exhausted you just want to punch me in the face. Well, now you can get all that in the privacy of your own home with our new Project Runway fragrance that smells like tears and Chinese food! it's called "Tootie" and it's available at bluefly.com!"

On to the show:

Last week Carmen was sent home:

Nina: "This is unacceptable."

Well, that's what I thought but you're the one who voted her off."

Nina: "No, I meant her outfit was unacceptable."

Oh, right.

So, as the winner last week, Jack chooses to switch to Ricky's model:

Nick Verreos: "OH, MY G..."

Shut it, Nick! We're sick of hearing about it!

Nick: "But that bitch stole..."

Nope, we don't want to hear it!

Nick: "But..."


Ugh, I don't know why he has to show up every time someone takes another designer's model. The winner gets to pick a model; it's not a big deal. OK?

Ricky: "I still think Jack's a bitch."

Heidi: "This week you are going back to the design room where you will meet some old friends."

Hmmm . . . old friends . . . it's going to be something old . . . what could it be?

Oh, it's Nina Garcia!

Nina: "If Heidi calls me old one more time I'm going to rip that weave right off her head!"

Wow, I sense a little tension there.

OK, seriously, the "old friends" we are meeting are supposedly outdated fashions. I question whether "70s flair (or is it flare?)" or poodle skirts are really that out of style at the moment but certainly shoulder pads and cut-outs should be outlawed.

One of the outdated styles is overalls. Jillian, who is supposed to be updating these styles, is actually wearing overalls:

Jillian: "Isn't it ironic?"

Well, it's kind of funny but I'm not sure it's ironic. As usual we turn to the expert:

Alanis Morissette: "I don't know! Leave me alone!"

There you have it, folks.

Everyone's name is drawn and they pick some hideous style and then Tim tells them to play dodgeball to determine teams. Everyone tells us how they ended up with exactly the teammates they had wanted their entire lives. Awww.

The teams are:

Chris, Steven, and Sweet P.
Ricky, Victorya, and Elisa.
Christian, Kit, and Jack.
Jillian, Rami, and Kevin.

Then Tim delivers the totally crappy news that they need to pick their own leaders. This is not a democracy, Tim! They can't pick their own leaders! This can only end in disaster!

Really, it's one thing to have leaders determined by some contest (such as presenting the best sketches) because that person earned both the opportunity and the responsibility of leading the team. But when a team just randomly picks a leader, that person is going to end up bearing all the responsibility without gaining any advantage. Let's see how they play this:

Steven and Sweet P: "Chris, you should be the team leader so you can get blamed for everything."

Chris: "OK."

Ricky: "I'll be the team leader."

Victorya: "Sure, we'll call you the 'team leader.' But we all understand I'll actually be in charge, right?"

Ricky: "Of course."

Elisa: "I don't understand the concept of 'teams.' Can't we all just work together as one big universal team so we don't have to compete with each other? War is not the answer, people."

She makes a good point. OK, so it's settled: Ricky is the leader. Except that it's really Victorya.

Now for a special segment that I hope will be a regular feature of the program. I like to call it "Ricky Lizalde: Weirdo Whisperer."

I'll set the scene: non-team leader Victorya is telling Elisa what to do:

Victorya: "So, I want you to lower the waist and move this seam over here. Got it?"

Elisa: "I don't understand this technical sewing terminology."

Ricky: "What Victorya is trying to explain is that you need to follow your bliss to the land of magical ponies."

Elisa: "Oh. Well, why didn't she just say that?"

Aaaaand . . . scene.

That was fun. Now back to Victorya not understanding the she agreed that Ricky would be the team leader:

Victorya: "I don't want to be a big, bossy cow."

Well, that's too bad 'cause apparently you are one.

Victorya: "I really wanted to ask Ricky why he wanted to be the team leader."

But you didn't.

Victorya: "Well, I just assumed that he would want to do everything my way. I don't understand why people don't want to do things properly. Everyone is being so difficult."

Ooh, come back from the kitchen everyone! It's time for the Saturn commercial!

Nick Verreos: "I'm here in this fabulous Saturn driving to my favorite inspiration spot: Decades 2!"

Cool! I think I read about that place in the New Yorker! The guy buys used designer clothes from celebrities!

Nick: "You think you're better than everyone because you read the New Yorker."

Shut up! Do not!

Now for the new Bravo quiz segment. There is way too much crap going on; just give us the show! Anyway, did you know that the French make all their dogs wear skirts? I think that's what it said. The French are so silly!

And by the way, Bravo, you can't make someone a supermodel. You have to be BORN a supermodel!

Back in the design room Steven is doing a pretty spot-on Santino impersonation:

Steven: "Designers, I'd like to take you all to the Red Lobster."

Kevin is pulling a magic rabbit out of his ass. I wonder how that got there.

Christian loves his look. Quelle surprise.

Ugh! One more stupid survey before we get to the runway: What outdated fashion trend do you still wear? Well, I'm sitting here wearing a unitard and fuschia leg-warmers so I can't think of a single thing.

Oh, god; now what? Oh, Tim is doing an advertisement for Parsons. Isn't this whole damn show an advertisement for Parsons?

Finally: the runway! The guest judge is Donna Karan.

Jillian's team (with Rami and Kevin) had to update a poodle skirt, overalls and "70s flair (or flare)." They did a really good job. They gave "70s flair (or flare)" to the overalls, which worked nicely. They updated the poodle skirt by giving it a higher waist. The collection was very cohesive. They win. Congratulations!

Christian's team (with Kit and Jack) had Zoot suit, pleather, and fringe. The only thing I see of the inspiration is the pinstripe fabric. Apparently the pleather is in the accessories, which is a real cop-out and I don't really see the fringe. The look with the pencil skirt and the vest is really nice; I think Kit made that one. But one nice outfit and hardly any of the inspiration? I thought this collection was a failure. But it wasn't the worst so they're safe.

Chris's team (with Steven and Sweet P) had shoulder pads, dancewear, and baggy sweater. It was pretty godawful. I didn't really understand Steven's outfit; it looked like a shiny karate uniform. Chris's was so bad. It's easy to say, "well, what could you possibly do with shoulder pads?" But the truth is he could have done something with big shoulders that didn't look like this. In fact, in the first episode of the season Christian made a jacket with huge shoulders that wasn't to everyone's taste but it looked kind of fresh. But Chris's looked as dated as the look he was supposed to be updating. The problem isn't that it looked "costumey," which wouldn't necessarily be a problem for a runway show; the problem is that it looked like a costume from a bad production of "The Women."

Sweet P, on the other hand, made the best outfit of the night! She updated the baggy belted sweater look to an adorable little dress. You could absolutely see the inspiration but it looked completely fresh. And the fact the Donna Karan liked it will not dissuade me from saying it was my favorite look! In fact, I'm going to say it's my favorite look so far this season! Too bad she was on that team because I think she could have won the challenge this week.

Ricky's team (with Elisa and the real team leader Victorya) had neon, cut-outs, and "underwear as outerwear." Oh, Ricky. Ricky, Ricky, Ricky. What the hell was up with that collection? They should have really done "outerwear" and made winter coats out of bras and panties. I guess I get the basic idea: neon satin was supposed to cover the neon inspiration and the underwear inspiration. The problem is they looked like neon nighties and they were hideous.

Except for Elisa's. She sent her model down the runway naked to represent one giant cut-out that has gotten out of control and swallowed the whole garment:

Elisa: "If I didn't know that I did that I wouldn't have known that I did that."

You didn't do that; I just made it up. No, unfortunately she made a little black satin garbage bag decorated with brightly colored Pillsbury sugar cookies. For some reason the judges liked it.

So it comes down to Ricky and Chris. Once again, Ricky gets a reprieve. Sorry Chris; we'll miss you!
Congratulations, Tiffani!

Sorry, no recap but I just wanted to congratulate Tiffany for winning the Top Chef Holiday Special! She wins $20,000, which apparently is enough to start a restaurant! OK, so maybe it's enough to buy napkins for a restaurant. Seriously, $20,000? What's she supposed to do with that?

Anyway, I'm very happy for her because I really think she got a raw deal in season one. I'm not saying she should have won over Harold, I'm just saying it sucked that everyone hated on her so bad and that she was stuck with Stephen and Dave as her helpers for the finale, showing up hungover AND drunk (I didn't even know that was possible) and being completely unprofessional.

It's a little bit of redemption.